Sweet and Sour Pork

Part 23 of my third global warming science fiction novel “Last Week”. Link to Part 01: “Back To Paradise Era”.

Saturday, February 12, 2023, 1:15 P.M.

“That beach is really nice,” Angel said. “I like it.”

“Happy to hear that,” Satoshi said. “Why did you want to come here?”

“There are a couple of reasons. Remember, this is my last weekend. I wanted to relax at the beach. Hawaii is great for that, because it’s warm even in February. Also, this beach will be 50 meters under the sea in my World. This is my only chance ever to enjoy it.”

“So, there’s nothing left of Waikiki in 2323?” Satoshi asked.

“At ground level, no, nothing left. But some of the high rise hotels still stick out of the sea slightly at the top. It looks kind of weird. There are even people using the parts still accessible. Of course the beaches were gone after the first couple of meters of sea level rise,” Angel said. “Have you been here before?”

“Yes,” Satoshi said. “I chose Waikiki as the setting for one of my porn novels. I needed to come here for research.”

They were sitting in the hotel restaurant, with a good view over the beach and Diamond Head. Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were spent at the beach, lying around in the sun and going for a bit of swimming from time to time. Satoshi had given up on bugging Angel about going on with the mission. She would not let saving the World get in the way of her one and only chance to spend a weekend relaxing at the Waikiki beach.

“That sounds interesting,” Angel said. “I’d like to read it. I really would. But I’m sort of running short on time right now. Maybe you can show me some of the action in your novel later. I find that 21st Century sex, while rather primitive and lacking in refinement, has its charms as well.”

“Sure,” Satoshi said. “Let’s go right back to our room after lunch. What do you want to eat?”

“I’m not sure,” Angel said. “Everything in Paradise Era tastes like a dream. Again, I’m running out of time. What’s your favorite dish?”

“I recommend sweet and sour pork. I really like that one,” Satoshi said.

“Okay, let’s go with that,” Angel said.

Satoshi called a waiter and ordered their lunch. He also ordered some bottled beer and Sprite to go with it.

“So, how many books have you written?” Angel asked.

“Only about 150,” Satoshi said. “I’m not sure, actually. I should pay more attention to keeping track, I guess.”

“Have you always been a writer?”

“I started rather late. I was already 21 when I finished my first book,” Satoshi said. “But I always had fun writing,”

“What was that first book about?” Angel said.

“It was a mystery novel, titled ‘The Case of the Incredible Vanishing Carrot’,” Satoshi said. “It sucked, of course. But I still like it. I had a lot of fun writing it at the time.”

“Did you plan the sexual undertone? I mean, that hard carrot vanishing some place or other? Or didn’t you notice at all?” Angel said.

“I didn’t notice at all,” Satoshi said, blushing slightly. “But once you point it out, it actually becomes kind of obvious. Maybe that’s the reason that book actually sold a whopping 37 copies. Mostly to my friends and family.”

“What did you do for a living?” Angel said.

“Nothing. I was a student, living on my parents’ money. I was actually rather good at that as well. I always made top grades. Computer science. Very boring. But there’s always a market for people who know how to code,” Satoshi explained. “I had some interest in encryption at the time.”

The food arrived, along with the beer and the Sprite.

“You need to mix the beer and the Sprite,” Satoshi explained. “Tastes great.”

“Of course it tastes great,” Angel said. “Everything in your World does.”

“Have you ever heard of sweet and sour pork? Read the Wikipedia page or something?” Satoshi asked.

“No. I have looked at a lot of three hundred years old Wikipedia pages when preparing for my mission. But not at this one,” Angel said.

“It’s a dish of Chinese origin. There are records that one of the rich Chinese families used sweet and sour pork to test the skills of their family chefs. The Chinese always knew a thing or two about cuisine,” Satoshi explained.

“Looks delicious,” Angel said. Again, she took her time. She enjoyed the colorful mix of red, green, yellow, and brown on her plate. She lowered her face to the plate to take in the great smell from a closer distance. She didn’t care if anybody in the restaurant might be surprised by such behavior. This was her first and only chance to enjoy this dish.

Then, very slowly, she took one of the deep fried bite-size pieces of pork with her fork and held it before her face, close to her nose, for another couple of moments, taking in the smell. Angel closed her eyes, to concentrate completely on her sense of smell.

Then she put that piece into her mouth and kept it there, doing nothing. It would not do to start chewing this immediately. She wanted the experience to last longer. This was another big moment in her mission. And in her life. She still kept her eyes closed, this time concentrating completely on her sense of taste.

“What do you think?” Satoshi asked. “Do you like it?”

“Of course I like it,” Angel said. “It’s food from the Paradise Era. How could I not like it? The question is if this is even better than all the other food I already had in your World. And it is. It certainly is.”

“You think the chef who has prepared this may pass the test?” Satoshi said.

“I’m not sure yet,” Angel said, smiling from ear to ear. “I need some more time to taste it.”

“Yes, of course. Take your time.”

Link to part 24: Bitcoin is Alien Technology!

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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